Monday, September 14, 2009
(January 10, 2002)
This intriguing wall, below the level of the grass which forms its banks, looks at first like an archaeological excavation—which is what draws me, in the end, back out of my car, away from my next errand, back into the beautiful January sunshine, which I’d left only reluctantly after lunch under market umbrellas at the museum café, an earlier walk up the Quad to buy books for this quarter’s class. What are they digging up? What asked to be let out? It’s called “Stone River”—a trickle then a flood of honey-colored stone, an ooze of honey-slow oxbows. Dry-stone wallers from England made it, it’s said, from the sandstone left as rubble by the earthquakes on the Stanford campus. It’s a liminal place, “somewhere between quarries and buildings.” The ephemera of stone is something the artist of this just-emerging wall, Andy Goldsworthy, is noted for, the choreography in the landscape of process and decay.
On this unseasonable day, two men and a schoolchild, down in the manmade riverbed, are coaxing a cat on a leash to walk along the narrow top edge of the sinuous wall.
(April 23, 2003)
The wall is magic. I tried running my hand along parts of its spine. Some pieces of sandstone were beginning to warm and others were cooler. A child had left part of a pbj sandwich tucked between the stones, until a jay discovered it and flew off with a large chunk. I walked back up to the Burghers and then said hello to Hope, the angel with the green cape and no-nonsense expression—she’s definitely my favorite of the four.
Nabokov. A green table in a secret garden.
Reading the last page of Running in the Family again,